Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vektor - Black Future

Vektor - Black Future
Full-Length, Heavy Artillery Records
November 2009

Throwback, retro, old-school metal. Admittedly, I loathe these kinds of bands and the entire concept (usually). The idea of a band doing something completely unoriginal and rehashed makes me frustrated, not only as a listener, but also as a fellow artist. Granted there is nothing wrong with enjoying the glory of the past flames, usually it is impossible to recapture that 'old-school' magnificence...Getting this promo in the mail, I cannot honestly say I was expecting a whole lot. The band logo and artwork screamed 'retro'. The band logo looking far too similar to the Voivod logo, I feared for the worst.

This album was a lesson in never judging a book (or album) by its cover. I put the disc in and literally had my head blown off and my ass handed to me. Vektor dealt me a blow I was certainly not expecting, but welcomed with open arms. 'Black Future' is stylistically all over the place, the band runs through thrash, progressive, black(ish) and death(ish) moments. Extremely intense, furious, complex and melodic, Vektor tear through this 70 minute opus with no stone left unturned. This is no throwback band, this is a band that embraces its forefathers and blazes forward with feverish ambition. Sounding like a chaotic mix of Voivod, Athiest and later-era Death - with the vocals sounding eerily like Ihsahn at times - Vektor is truly making a name for themselves and a respectable one at that.

The musicianship on this album is amazing by all accounts. Complicated song structures and dissonant melodies are found on nearly every track. Superb drumming, fluid bass playing, shredding guitar riffs/solos and passionately howled vocals make Vektor stand out from the pack. This album is a headbangers dream...It is probably a good idea to do some neck stretches before listening to 'Black Future' because I found myself rocking out for the entire duration of the album. Stunning.

Kudos to Vektor and Heavy Artillery for really giving me something unexpected. I can honestly say I am very impressed with this album and will surely be following this band for as long as they keep up this kind of brilliance. For fans of unique and original METAL, do yourself many favors and pick up 'Black Future'. I can assure you that disappointment is not something you will find here. Its always great to have cynicism turned on its ear and to be rewarded with a true musical gem such as this. 'Black Future' made my day.

Rating : 9/10

Reviewed by E.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Stone (Srb) - Old Wounds Bleed Misanthropy

EP, Diabolist Services Cult
May 12th, 2010

10" Gatefold Picture MLP.
Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies.

So in my hands is a copy of "OLD WOUNDS BLEED MISANTHROPY", the newest release from Serbian horde The Stone. The band had decided to re-record 2 classic songs with the current lineup and also threw in Slayer and Masters Hammer covers to sweeten the deal.

"Za korak paklu blize" starts things off right, blasting from the turntable speakers with vengence and fury!!!!! The song sounds a little clearer and is executed flawlessly by the current formation. The track which is exclusive to this release originally appeared on the bands recording "SOME WOUNDS BLEED FOREVER" which happens to be their debut full length, so the clearer production doesn't take away to much from this track. Track 2 is "Vihor paganske osvete" and appeared originally on their 1998 demo recording "Unveiled Evil" demo and gain the production makes everything a little clearer without taking away the majestic savagery away from the original intent. The Slayer cover "Aggressive Perfector" changes things up a bit, but is nothing more then a tribute done many times over to a band that has influenced countless numbers of extreme metal bands. The Masters Hammer cover was an obvious choice for the boys from Serbia and is a fitting end to the 10" and also exclusively only on this release.

But the real winner here is the presentation of this album released worldwide by intolerant vinyl only label DIABOLIST SERVICES and FUCK ME....the packaging is beautiful. Heavy stock gate-fold and the picture disc is also of the highest quality as well. My version also came with a really nice parchment paper insert and a patch. One of the best, if not the best vinyl I own, simply based on the packaging alone. The music is great as well, but unless you are really into this band, then it is not essential. But overall another winner for DSC and The Stone!

Music : 7.5/10
Total Package : 8.5/10

Review By B.S.O.G

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Negura Bunget Interview.

Negura Bunget Interview: By E. for The Werkshed, Interview with Negru

Q: First allow me to say that this is an honor for me to interview Negura Bunget. Virstele pamintului is an absolutely amazing record and seems like a genuine progression from the brilliance of Om. For those who have not heard it yet, how would you describe it to someone unfamiliar to what you do? And how would you describe it to someone who is completely familiar to your previous works?

Negru: For the ones familiar with our work, I would say Virstele pamintului is as much of a natural evolution as it is a new beginning.

Q: Virstele pamintului (much like many of your previous works) is a very cohesive album, each part is just as important as the last and they all come together to create a unified piece of art. This album seems very much like a concept album of sorts. Do you see it this way? If yes, what is the underlying concept behind this album?

Negru: Yes, I’d sat this is truly conceptual album. Vîrstele pămîntului (Ages of the land) is as the title suggests an album about ages, about places of the earth and places of the spirit, about bounds transcending worlds. It’s an album that tries to shape a personal vision on the essences that made us who we are now. We look back so that we can understand use, the present and our future. Symbolically the album is based on the principle of 9. 9 is the triad of the triads, symbol of fulfillment of the creative effect. It symbolizes the return of the multiplicity to unity (like the snake biting his tail). 9 is the number of patience, of meditation and harmony. The earth is where we came from and where go back into, the one from above and beyond us. Understanding and respecting it means to understand yourself, your purpose and destiny. Vîrstele pămîntului is an album about embracing your destiny, about choosing and consciously assuming a way of life.

Q: You have also released Maiestrit this year, what is your opinion on the differences between the original and re-recorded version? Are there any plans to re-record any of your other older material in the future? Why did you pick this album from all the ones in your catalog to re-record?

Negru: There are a lot of differences between the two versions. Maybe not major ones, but if you look into details, a lot is changed, modified, re-shaped… so that in the end we rather see Maiestrit as a new material than a simple re-recording. We don’t have any plans to re-record other materials. That’s why we saw Maiestrit as a symbolical and of an era. The past is entirely behind us now, we are solely focused on the future. We were never satisfied with the original outcome of the album. We felt there was a lot more that we didn’t managed to capture, both in terms of production and performance. So our mind set was to make it right this time, do every little aspect as it should be. Was not easy, and we ended up working on this material maybe more than on a new album, but it was worth in the end.

Q: Despite the tumultuous line-up disintegration of the old guard, NB has managed to compose new material that is very much akin to its elder works and does not regress in anyway. How is the working relationship with the new members so far and have you come to any kind of closure/resolve with the old members?

Negru: We’ve been quite fortunate to find the right people for this endeavor, so things are working out pretty well. We are of course just at the beginning, there’s a lot more to be developed, and a long journey is ahead of us. But we are aware of this, and we are really keep do put all the hard work to make things happen the way we know they should. I have a clean closure with the old members since the very beginning. I don’t hold any grudges or regrets about the course of action I took. I can’t say it’s a similar feeling from their side, but I can always speak only for myself.

Q: Negura Bunget, since its inception, has seemed like a band dedicated to blazing its own path. Was this something that was intentional since the birthing of the project or was it more of a natural progression that continued to evolve more over time?

Negru: I was just the natural way we progressed… Of course in time you became aware of such matters, and you can take care even better of all the different aspects involved, which is exactly what we did.

Q: You are currently embarked on a tour in support of your new material. How has the crowd reaction been to the new material so far? Are there any plans to come to the United States in the future?

Negru: So far the reactions towards the new album have been amazing, both at the concerts, and in the media. It’s even more than we could have expected. We have tried to arrange a US tour for quite a while already. It’s not easy to plan such a thing for a band like us, but I’m sure we will make it happen soon.

Q: Negura Bunget has always been a very spiritual band both musically and lyrically. How does your spiritual ideology effect the music and even more so, your daily lives? How would you categorize your spiritual ideologies?

Negru: Everything we do is a consequence of who we are as persons. Spiritually shapes you character, so in a way or other is directly involved is every aspect of our lives. That doesn’t mean of course we endorse that over-spiritual approach where every gesture has a meaning. We are normal people, and our interests are just private so I would say our spiritual ideologies are of a personal nature. We do not embrace any official systems and certainly do not preach to other our beliefs.

Q: One of the things that has been noteworthy of your band is the use of film/video that completely compliments the music. Are there any plans for more videos/film work in the future?

Negru: We do have some plans on this matter. For once we just finished the first clip for a track of new album – Dacia Hiperboreana. It’s a 9 minutes long rather unusual visual exploration… We also have a live DVD almost completed. It’s our biggest project s far, as we set up an entire gig in order to film it right and offer a full live experience to the watchers. It should be released on Prophecy before the end of the year. Other that this we have some much ampler plans, but unfortunately I can’t say much for the moment about them.

Q: Over the past few years you have essentially taken on all aspects of the creative process, from writing to recording. What is the major factor that led you to record your music yourselves? Do you find it difficult to create and produce your art?

Negru: I think we just wanted to take care directly of all the aspects. It’s not like there are many peoples around here on which we could depend on doing a better job… so we were also somehow forced to take this approach. But the more we get into such aspects, the more natural we feel we can take things even higher, so it’s not at all like a burden.

Q: Negura Bunget has always had a very abstract take on album artwork. Very much different from the typical black metal fare, but manages to compliment the music perfectly. Many bands fail to use artwork to its full capacity, in regards to creating art that is whole, complete and represents the musical side of what they do. What is your opinion regarding the visual side of your art and how important is it to you?

Negru: I think every aspects of a new material count. From production, layouts, packaging… they all offer us different means of expression. We also enjoy taking new paths with everything, make something of our own. For the artwork side we’ve also been fortunate to have some close friends which help us a lot…

Q: You had been doing the Negura music web/magazine, but it seems to have been on hold for a while now. Are there any plans to move forward with it or is it pretty much obsolete at this point?

Negru: I haven’t put this project entirely behind. In fact I still feel time will come to make yet another issue of the magazine, and I mean of course the printed version. I already have the material for an entire issue, but it’s just getting a bit too old now, so maybe I’ll have to start it again from scratch. And as printed magazines are getting rare these days, my determination is just getting stronger.

Q: It seems you are working with other bands in your recording studio as of recent (Wodensthrone to be one of them). Are you planning to do more outside recording work in the studio or is it more for friends/acquaintances and such?

Negru: We don’t have too much time to take outside recordings… But we did quite a few meanwhile, especially local bands that we pretty much knew one way or the other.

Q: Well that is about all I have for this interview. I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. If you have any last words to put out there, please feel free to do so. The Werkshed and myself would like to wish you and the band all the best in your future endeavors.

Negru: Thank you too for the support! I hope we will make it soon to US, and people will have the chance to experience directly what Negura Bunget is all about. Meanwhile we have a lot of projects coming out this year, so keep an eye on everything.